Alumna profile: Naomi Robertson, River Island’s Womenswear Knitwear Designer
Naomi Robertson attended Richmond School from 2003 to 2010. During the COVID-19 pandemic, along with other colleagues, Naomi was furloughed from her post as River Island’s Womenswear Knitwear Designer, for several weeks, and moved back to Richmond to spend time at home with her parents. It was lovely to hear from Naomi and discover that she has been putting her design skills to great use during this difficult time, creating bespoke, hand-embroidered T-shirts in aid of the charity MIND.
Naomi said: “Initially, I was keen to become an NHS volunteer during the pandemic but this was not possible. As a creative designer, I decided to embroider a T- shirt to show support to Key Workers, the NHS and for people’s general wellbeing. I then had requests from my friends and family for one, so I decided to embroider more and raise money,donating all the proceeds to the charity MIND. The charity is giving much valued support to people during these challenging times. I have raised almost £500.”
We love hearing how our alumni progress after leaving us. Whilst at university, Naomi won two prestigious awards, before taking up her role at River Island. Please read on to find out more about Naomi’s successful studies and exciting career in fashion design……
After A-levels in Design Technology, Dance and Classics, Naomi attended the University of Northumbria, gaining a First Class Honours Degree in Fashion Design specialising in Textiles and specifically knitwear. She found knitwear exciting as it enabled her to create a fabric as well as a garment. Naomi’s final collection was exhibited on the catwalk at the London Student Fashion Week. Whist at university she was fortunate to be the recipient of the Mulberry Prize. This consisted of a three-month placement at Mulberry HQ in London and, following this, she spent time at a knitwear design company called Sibling. It was at Sibling that Naomi got the opportunity to attend numerous major fashion shows. She was also fortunate to be the recipient of the Barbour Prize. For the award, she designed a jumper that was later sold in Barbour shops around the country. As a winner of this prestigious award, Naomi met Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall at Clarence House. Prince Charles is the President of the National Wool Board and so he has a special interest in wool garments.
On leaving university in 2014, Naomi gained a position at River Island where she started as a Design Room Assistant and progressed through three promotions to Womenswear Knitwear Designer. With her job as a Designer, Naomi is fortunate enough to travel the world, from China, Hong Kong, South Korea to Italy, Paris and Turkey, on development and inspirational trips.
Naomi said: “I gained an interest in the world of fashion from Textiles lessons with Mrs Drake where my creativity was encouraged and I was supported in following my personal interests. My success at university enabled me to begin a career in fashion design. Like so many former students, Richmond School will always be a special place for me as I made so many friends who I still have today and fond memories of all the experiences we shared.”
We are looking forward to welcoming Naomi back to school in the future to speak to groups of students who have an interest in the world of design and fashion. Naomi concluded: “There is a very strong sense of community in the current climate and it is more important than ever to offer support to others. I would always be happy to help anyone interested in the fashion business by offering any advice I can and attending school to engage with students. I may be able to help younger students who are making decisions about their career paths.
“I am really looking forward to giving something back to Richmond School, who helped shape the person I am today.”